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Pelican Technical Article:

Transmission Oil Change

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$60 to $80

Talent:

**

Tools:

17mm Allen, fluid pump, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

Porsche 944 Turbo (1986-89)

Parts Required:

Gear oil

Hot Tip:

make sure the socket is well seated

Performance Gain:

Proper transmission operation

Complementary Modification:

Check CV joints

One of the easiest tasks to perform on your 944 is to change the transmission oil. The 944 transmission is what is known as a transaxle. It includes all the standard components of a normal transmission, plus an integrated differential. The transaxle design is more compact and theoretically lighter in weight since you don't need a dedicated differential. The transaxle on the 944 is also located at the rear of the car and connected to the engine via a torque tube.

The differential and the transmission both share the same lubricating fluid. It's very important to make sure that the fluid in your transmission is at the proper level; otherwise your transmission will experience significant wear. If your transmission is low on oil, the wear on these components will accelerate significantly. In addition, shifting the car will be more difficult. One of the first things that you should check on a 944 that is having problems shifting is the level of the transmission oil. Keeping the differential and all the associated gears well lubricated should also help increase your fuel mileage.

The transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles or about once every two years. Check your owner's manual for more details on the scheduled requirement for your year 944. This number is a rough estimate, and may vary depending upon your use of your 944 (track vs. street). There are many moving parts in the transmission, and they have a tendency to drop small microscopic metal particles into the oil. Specifically, the synchro rings wear down slowly over time, each time you shift. While the transmission bearings are not as sensitive as the engine bearings, they can still exhibit wear from these particles in the oil.

While you may be able to change the transmission oil with the car on the ground, it is much easier if you safely jack up and support it. If you are going to jack up the vehicle you will need to jack it up evenly as the transmission oil level is set by the height of the fill plug. Just jacking up the rear end can give you the wrong level. Please see our article on safely jacking up and supporting your 944.

There are two 17mm plugs on the left side of the transmission.
Figure 1

There are two 17mm plugs on the left side of the transmission. The upper plug (red arrow) is the fill plug and the lower plug (yellow arrow) is the drain plug. ALWAYS open the fill plug first. If you open the drain plug first and the fill plug is stripped or damaged and cannot be removed, you will be left with a transmission with no oil in it and no way to drive the vehicle.

Insert the 17mm Allen and make sure it is properly seated (red arrow) and remove the fill plug first and then the drain plug.
Figure 2

Insert the 17mm Allen and make sure it is properly seated (red arrow) and remove the fill plug first and then the drain plug.

Check the condition of the plugs; this one is fine (red arrow).
Figure 3

Check the condition of the plugs; this one is fine (red arrow). If your plug has been partially stripped by a previous owner or yourself trying to remove it, replace it. It is not a good idea to reuse a damaged plug.

Reinstall the drain plug and using a fluid pump to fill the case with oil until it is level with and just dripping out from the fill hole (red arrow).
Figure 4

Reinstall the drain plug and using a fluid pump to fill the case with oil until it is level with and just dripping out from the fill hole (red arrow). Install the fill plug and you are done.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Craiger Comments: I know all of this, but doubt everybody does? Would be nice if you'd include recommendations for what gear oil to put back in. Ie, dino or synthetic, viscosity 80W-90 I assume? Best way to get it in? Funnel w/ long filler tube, oil suction gun?
August 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It varies depending model:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/SuperCat/944M_catalog.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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